The former world champion wasn't able to get around a television motorbike in enough time to contest the finish in Siena

Defending champion Lizzie Deignan (Boels-Dolmans) says that a television motorbike ruined the final of the Strade Bianche on Saturday in Siena, Italy.

She placed third behind winner Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5), but on rain-soaked climb into the Piazza del Campo, she found “traffic.”

“It was a bit frustrating because there was a motorbike in the way,” she told Cycling Weekly in a brief moment when the rain let up.

“It was my own fault though, it was a positional problem that cost me the race.”

Shara Gillow (FDJ) and then Lucinda Brand (Sunweb) attacked. In the final kilometre, they had a gap. With around three kilometres left, a television motorbike came close to the front cyclists and quickly turned off the course to avoid them. Then Deignan found “traffic” on the final climb into town.

“It was OK [on the climb], we didn’t go that hard at that point, so it was just the final sprint,” she added. “Like I say, it was frustrating that there was traffic.”

Longo Borghini celebrates her win at Strade Bianche (LaPresse – D’Alberto / Ferrari)

The chase group found themselves directly behind a motorbike in the narrow city roads leading to the famous horse racing square.

A television motorbike caused problems for Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) in the Clásica San Sebastián in 2015. Today again, it appeared too close.

The UCI recently released updated safety guidelines for the race caravan following several incidents last year, including the death of Antoine Demoitié (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) in Ghent-Wevelgem.

Motorbike aside, Deignan felt pleased with her first race of the 2017 season.

“To be honest, my form was a bit of a surprise, I didn’t expect to feel so good, so I’m pretty happy with third place,” the 28-year-old added.

“I’m delighted, I couldn’t expect a podium. I was coming here to work for the team. But we had so much bad luck that it ended up being me that had to do the job.

“I feel confident and happy. I think I’ll enjoy training more now knowing that… You spend a lot of months in the winter telling yourself that you are not good enough, so I guess I still have it.”